A mei tai (pronounced "may tie," not "my tie") is essentially a large rectangle of fabric with four long straps coming off the corners, made out of sturdy and supportive fabric. Modern mei tai's like the BabyHawk, and the CatBird Baby are based on a traditional Chinese design. A mei tai is an extremely versatile carrier that can be used to carry a child from birth through the preschool years comfortably, on the front, back, or hip. The straps distribute the child's weight evenly on the shoulders and around the waist, making this carrier an excellent choice for those with back or shoulder problems. A mei tai has a moderate learning curve, but its adaptability makes it well worthwhile.
One of the mei tai's particular strengths is the ease with which even tiny babies can be safely and securely carried on the parent's back, allowing the wearer to be hands-free to take care of older children, cook, consume hot beverages and food, and other activities where having a baby on the front might be inconvenient or unsafe.